GOP blasts Ebola czar pick

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Republicans are pointing to Democratic operative Ron Klain's background in politics — rather than public health — as evidence that he isn’t up to the job as "Ebola czar."

The criticism comes after the White House announced Friday that Klain, a longtime aide to Democratic campaigns and a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, would oversee the administration’s response to the virus.

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“Installing yet another political appointee who has no medical background or infectious disease control experience will do little to reassure Americans who are increasingly losing confidence with the Administration’s Ebola strategy,” said Rep. Tim MurphyTim MurphyJordan weathering political storm, but headwinds remain Saccone loses GOP primary comeback bid in Pa. Nearly half of voters hope for Dems to win majority in 2018: poll MORE (R-Penn.), who convened Thursday’s congressional panel on the administration’s response to the threat posed by the deadly outbreak.

Critiques began shortly after Klain’s appointment was reported, and initially came from more conservative members of the House.

“[President Obama] selects Ron Klain (lawyer, former Biden & Gore COS) as Ebola czar.  God forbid he select a doctor,” Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdFormer aides alleging sexual harassment on Capitol Hill urge congressional action AP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups MORE (R-Texas) tweeted.

He was joined in taking aim at the appointment by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingWarren calls out GOP congressman for 'white supremacist propaganda,' encourages donations to his opponent GOP lawmaker accuses black students of supporting 'George Wallace's segregation' The stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms MORE (R-Iowa).

As the day went on, others joined in the chorus.

"Given the mounting failings in the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak, it is right that the president has sought to task a single individual to coordinate its response," Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said in a statement. "But I have to ask why the president didn’t pick an individual with a noteworthy infectious disease or public health background?"

Senate Republicans also disapproved of the president’s choice.

“Ebola is a health crisis. Yet the President has appointed as his new Ebola ‘czar’ a partisan loyalist whose expertise is politics—not health,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala).

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), said he would have preferred a cabinet member “accountable to Congress” lead the effort, according to his office.

“This is a public health crisis, and the answer isn’t another White House political operative,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a statement.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dismissed the criticism as nothing more than politics when he was told about the Republican reaction at his briefing Friday.

"That's a shocking development there,” he said. “"Three weeks before an Election Day, and Republicans are seeking to score political points. Stop the presses!"

This story was posted at 12:24 p.m. and updated at 5 p.m.